Rowan Pendragon posted a wonderful article about altars called Altars Anywhere on the blog Within The Sacred Mists. It gives a lot of great advice for practitioners who are afraid of creating an altar because it might not be fancy enough.
"I have had altars on bedside tables, wall shelves, the corner of a desk, the top of a cardboard box, on a large round wooden table and on a plastic storage tote. Some altars are really obvious and some blend right in with other things in a room so that nobody notices it. While there are traditional ways an altar can be set up and different traditions will designate everything from what direction to point the altar, to the candle colors, to what you can actually have on it. Does that mean it has to limit you in your home altars? No. It’s up to you to decide how you want to work with your altar."
My first Wiccan altar was an old, wooden cigar box/humidifier, upon which I set a single candle, a tarot card I pulled for the day, and my prayer beads. And at that moment, it did all it needed to do: provide a point of meditation and prayer.